Houthi attempt to hit Saudi civilians in drone attack condemned

A Civil Defense firefighter inspects a car damaged by falling debris from a Houthi drone that was shot down by Saudi Air Defense Forces over the city of Abha on Friday. (SPA)
Updated 09 March 2019

Houthi attempt to hit Saudi civilians in drone attack condemned

  • Arab Coalition air defense forces intercepted the drone before it hit its target
  • Five people injured by wreckage from the aircraft, which ‘showed characteristics of Iranian manufacturing’

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Royal Air Defense Force on Friday shot down a Houthi drone targeting civilians in a residential area of the city of Abha, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

 After examining the wreckage, the Saudi-led Arab coalition said “it showed characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing.”

Col. Turki Al-Maliki, the spokesman for the coalition, warned the Iranian-backed Houthi militia “in the strongest terms” to stop targeting civilian. He said the coalition would take all measures, in accordance with international humanitarian law, to counter such threats.

The drone was intercepted over a residential area in the city of Abha, about 230 kilometers north of the border with Yemen, according to reports on Al Arabiya TV. Col. Mohammed Al-Assami, a spokesman for the Directorate of Civil Defense in Asir region, said four Saudis, one of them a woman, and an Indian expat were injured by falling debris. Six vehicles and a number of houses were damaged.

Rajeh Badi, the official spokesman for the legitimate government in Yemen, said the Houthi militias are terrorists who have no interest in peace. The latest drone attack, he added, was further proof of their continued violation of all agreements and talks sponsored by the United Nations. He said the UN and the international community must understand that the Houthis are taking advantage of the negotiations and the international efforts to end the conflict in Yemen and have no desire to end the suffering of Yemenis.

“The United Nations and the international community must unequivocally condemn Houthi terrorist operations both inside and outside Yemen,” said Badi. “The complacency about, and non-condemnation of, such operations will embolden not only the Houthis but also all other terrorists in the world to continue to threaten international peace and security everywhere.”

He said the terrorist attacks carried out by the Houthis against civilian targets in Saudi Arabia clearly reveal the true nature and malicious intentions of the Iranian-backed militia, and stressed that they have not yet complied with agreements reached during peace talks in Stockholm and Jordan regarding the handover of the port of Hodeidah and a prisoner-swap deal.

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Saudi political analyst and international-relations scholar, described the Houthi aggression as “unacceptable” and said the UN shares the blame by not taking a firm enough stance.

"I would blame the United Nations (for this latest Houthi attack)," he said. "It should immediately rally the international community against this criminal, Iran-aligned militia. This attack on a civilian population in Abha is a clear violation of the Stockholm agreement."

He said the Houthis cannot be trusted, adding: “They are not interested in peace. They are the enemies of Yemen. They want to prolong the war so that they can continue to hold Yemenis hostage at the point of gun. The world community should understand what Saudi Arabia is facing — this is terrorism.”

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said: “The coalition’s priority is Yemen’s security and stability, and the war was imposed on it by the Houthi coup.”

Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies entered the war in Yemen in 2015, after the Houthis drove the internationally recognized government into exile in 2014. The coalition accuses Iran of supplying the Houthis with arms, including drones and missiles. Iran and the Houthis deny the accusations.

The Houthis have fired dozens of missiles into Saudi Arabia during the four-year conflict, most of which have been intercepted by the Saudi military. Most recently, coalition forces destroyed another Iranian-made Houthi drone over Abha on Jan. 30.

Residents in the city took to social media on Friday to praise the military forces, after the Saudi Ministry of Defense (@Mod_GovSa) posted on Twitter: “The Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces has intercepted and demolished a hostile drone.”

User @d7oom_asirri_9 responded: “The drone was intercepted and we did not feel a thing, it was only sound. Everyone can sleep at ease thanks to Allah and these men.”

@Mooog990 tweeted: “A missile was intercepted and shrapnel fell on Sultan City district in Abha. Everything was taken care of.”





Houthi missile injures 5 people in Saudi Arabia’s Jazan

Updated 02 March 2021

Houthi missile injures 5 people in Saudi Arabia’s Jazan

  • The wounded include three Saudi citizens and two Yemeni nationals
  • Two houses, a grocery store and three vehicles were also damaged

RIYADH: Five people were injured when a missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia fell in the Jazan region of southwestern Saudi Arabia, state news agency SPA reported early on Tuesday.
The media spokesman for the Directorate of Civil Defense in Jazan, Col. Mohammed bin Yahya Al-Ghamdi, said the authority received a report about a missile launched from Yemen toward one of the border villages in Jazan.
“Upon arrival at the site, it became clear that the military projectile had fallen in a public street, resulting in five civilians being injured,” Col. Al-Ghamdi said.
They included three Saudis and two Yemeni nationals, he said. They suffered moderate injuries due to shrapnel and were transferred to hospital to receive medical care.
“Two houses, a grocery store, three vehicles and several material were damaged from the flying shrapnel,” Col. Al-Ghamdi also said.
The Houthis have stepped up attacks on Saudi civilian targets using drones laden with explosives.

Cyprus gives Saudi Arabia ‘most favorable’ COVID-19 travel status

Updated 02 March 2021

Cyprus gives Saudi Arabia ‘most favorable’ COVID-19 travel status

  • Travelers from Kingdom will not have to quarantine, self-isolate

RIYADH: People traveling from Saudi Arabia to Cyprus will not have to quarantine after the Kingdom was ranked among the least-risky countries for spreading coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The eastern Mediterranean island nation was from Monday welcoming back tourists using a color-category system. Saudi Arabia has been placed in the “most favorable” green category along with countries such as Singapore, Australia, Iceland, and New Zealand.

Some 44 countries have been categorized green, orange, or red. The rest fall into the grey category, whose citizens would require special permission to travel to Cyprus.

The Kingdom was placed in the green category because of its swift response to the virus outbreak by enforcing curfews, travel bans, and creating equal access testing and vaccination centers.

Any passengers arriving in Cyprus from Saudi Arabia will not have to undergo any quarantine or self-isolation period. There will also be no requirement for them to hold a COVID-19 test certificate, although during March they will have to take a COVID-19 test provided free by the Cyprus health ministry.

The ranking system places countries by their number of cases and potential exposure to those arriving from them, and list will be updated weekly.

Tourism underpins the Cypriot economy with almost 4 million tourists visiting in 2019.


Young Saudi photographers turn to social media to showcase kingdom's beauty

Updated 01 March 2021

Young Saudi photographers turn to social media to showcase kingdom's beauty

  • Online platforms have become a melting pot of images taken by photographers who travel the country

JEDDAH: A new generation of Saudi photographers is relying on the power of social media to showcase the Kingdom’s vast beauty.

Online platforms have become a melting pot of images taken by photographers who travel the country — from the sandy beaches of the east and west, to the mountains of the north and south, and the green oases of the deserts — discovering the beauty of each region one picture at a time.

Fahad Al-Mutairi, 22, started @thesaudigate on Twitter to promote Saudi Arabia’s “hidden wonders” to a growing tourist market.

“I wanted to be part of the future somehow — that’s why I started Saudi Gate and this is what has motivated me to go on,” he told Arab News.

Many other photographers who travel the country share the same outlook.

Faisal Fahad Binzarah, 41, said: “I had to work on a few projects and went to places I had never been before. I remember thinking, where has this been all my life? I never thought I would find such gems in Saudi Arabia.”

Binzarah said that he looks for dramatic landscapes and tries to “capture the overall feeling of the place.”

He said: “The pictures I take are not unique, the uniqueness comes from the places. I am just the conveyer of the beauty and nothing else.


• Fahad Al-Mutairi, 22, started @thesaudigate on Twitter to promote Saudi Arabia’s ‘hidden wonders’ to a growing tourist market.

• Al-Mutairi said that about a third of @thesaudigate’s followers are international, and they are usually surprised by what they see.

“As a photographer, I try to capture the right objects at the right time, but often I feel like the beauty is not represented,” he said.

Al-Mutairi said that about a third of @thesaudigate’s followers are international, and they are usually surprised by what they see.

“Often they are amazed but also very happy because after going through the pictures they know that there is a part of the world that they must explore.”

Hadi Farah, 28, a Lebanese photographer who now lives in the Kingdom, said that he had traveled widely in Saudi Arabia and “always felt a sense of welcome and ease.”

“I think tourism is directly influenced by photographers. Whenever I upload something, I receive questions with people asking if this is really in Saudi Arabia or have I accidentally put the wrong name.

“Unfortunately, people think that it is just a desert and nothing else. So by posting pictures of these places we are educating them about possibilities and attractions they thought never existed,” he said.

Binzarah agreed, saying: “Undiscovered places are of interest for professional photographers, because they are always looking for challenges, and I think this ignites their interests to go to these places and explore.”

he added that “while the desert might be nothing new to a Saudi resident, it will be of interest to people who live in greener countries.”

Saudi Arabia, as a land of ancient civilizations, is extremely appealing for archaeologists and tourists interested in history, Binzara said.

Farah described the beauty of nature in different places, saying: “We associate beauty with life, and in our minds where there is green there is life, but we forget that there is also life in rocks and sand, and they are rich in history. So, we need to keep in mind that the beauty of AlUla is different from other areas.”

Technology is also having a major influence. Photographers now use drones to reach places that once were too dangerous or remote, and the resulting images shed new light on the power of photography and the beauty of landscapes.

“Being on social media gives us the drive to do better,” Binzarah said. “If there is no community or people to engage with, it gets dull.”

He added: “It is a personal journey and one for everyone to discover Saudi Arabia one picture at a time.”

Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority

Updated 28 February 2021

Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority

A royal order has recently approved Nabil Khojah as the secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority.

Khojah received a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the College of Industrial Management of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in 1996.

Nearly three years ago, he attended a leadership program designed for senior executives, Harvard Business School (HBS).

Khojah, who has served as CEO of Mosanada Logistics Services since 2019, brings extensive experience in the logistics industry to his role.

For four years beginning in 2008, he worked as the managing director at Exel, a joint venture business between DHL and Al-Olayan Group, a multinational enterprise with an actively managed portfolio of global investments.

Between 2012 and 2018, he served as the chief executive officer of Saudia Cargo, one of the Middle East’s leading air cargo carrier and cargo ground handling companies. His responsibilities included reporting to the company’s board of directors and overseeing a business with an extensive global network.

He has also held leadership positions with Unilever KSA and the Royal Saudi Air Force, among others.

From 2001 to 2003, he worked for Unilever, where he occupied a series of more senior positions, including manager of business systems, manager of the supply chain and logistics department, and manager of market demand planning. For three years beginning in 2003, he served as the regional manager for logistics and imported products in Dubai.

Khojah then moved to DHL as the general manager for transport and logistics, later becoming general manager of the company at its headquarters in Saudi Arabia.

World leaders condemn Houthi attack on Riyadh

Updated 01 March 2021

World leaders condemn Houthi attack on Riyadh

  • The Houthis in Yemen launched six drones at the south of the Kingdom, all of which were shot down
  • The coalition also intercepted a ballistic missile targeting Riyadh

JEDDAH: World and Arab leaders have condemned the drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia by Houthi militias on Saturday targeting Riyadh and Khamis Mushayt.
The Arab coalition intercepted and destroyed four Houthi drones targeting civilian areas in the Kingdom’s southwestern city Khamis Mushayt — one targeting Jazan and another targeting the southern region on Saturday.
Saudi defense forces also intercepted a ballistic missile targeting the capital Riyadh. No casualties were reported. Shrapnel from one of the Houthi ballistic missiles crashed through the roof of a residential property in Riyadh after it was intercepted.

Germany has condemned the attack on Monday saying that the firing of missiles towards civilian neighborhoods in Riyadh is “not acceptable.” It said such “reckless” acts by the Houthi militants will not serve any benefit, and may lead to a “dangerous escalation.”
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the UK condemned the missile and drone attacks launched by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia and Marib. These attacks endangered the lives of innocent people and showed that the perpetrators were not serious about the peace process or protection of the Yemeni people, he said.
The secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Dr. Nayef Al-Hajjraf, condemned the terrorist Houthi militia, saying that the continuation of such attacks reflected a blatant challenge to the international community and showed its disregard for international laws and norms. This required the international community to take an immediate and decisive stance to stop the repeated terrorist acts, which targeted vital and civilian installations and the security and stability of Saudi Arabia.

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The Houthi militia’s insistence on continuing these terrorist acts constitutes a continuation of the dangerous escalation that these militias are undertaking to harm the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and undermine the stability of the region.”
Kuwait renewed its call to the international community, and the UN Security Council, to carry out their duties to curb the Houthis “dangerous escalation” and to maintain international peace and security.


British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the UK condemned the missile and drone attacks launched by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia and Marib. These attacks endangered the lives of innocent people and showed that the perpetrators were not serious about the peace process or protection of the Yemeni people, he said.

Qatar strongly condemned the Houthi missile attack that targeted Riyadh and said it was “a dangerous act against civilians which contravenes all international norms and laws.”
The French ambassador in Saudi Arabia, Ludovic Pouille, condemned the attack and thanked Saudi forces for their intervention.
“I firmly condemn the ballistic missile attack claimed by the Houthis which has targeted Riyadh last night and the drone attacks against Khamis Mushayt. I convey my deepest thanks to the Saudi defense forces for their efficient protection,” he tweeted.  
Egypt has also expressed its condemnation and denunciation of the Houthi militia’s continuing terrorist acts directed at the territories of Saudi Arabia.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed Egypt’s solidarity with the Kingdom and its support for all measures taken to safeguard security and stability, and to protect citizens and residents in the face of terrorist acts that represented a violation of international law and were a threat to regional peace and security.